A long road trip to the west coast of Tennessee was just what the doctor ordered as the Cleveland State baseball team ran their win streak to five straight with a three-game TCCAA Region VII weekend sweep of the Southwest Tennessee Saluqis.
The Cougars (18-15, 8-10) used a four-run outburst in the first inning and a complete game pitching performance from Bobby Towne to start the series out on the right foot on Saturday afternoon with a 6-1 win and then completed the successful road trip with a sweep of the twinbill on Sunday coming from behind in both games to post a 5-4 win in game one and take a 4-2 decision in game two.
"It's always good to win on the road and to get a sweep is exactly what we needed," state Cougar coach Mike Policastro. "We got three good pitching performances, from Bobby on Saturday and Jake and Josh on Sunday. All three did a good job and we got some hits when we needed them. The sweep puts us right back in the conference race and with three weekends left any thing can happen."
Two Saluqi errors and a single loaded the bases for the visitors in the top of the first while a third miscue pushed a run across. Dalton Rogers then doubled in a pair of runs and Evan Speicher finished the inning by lifting a fly ball to right field to push a run home for a 4-0 lead.
The Cougars tacked on a run in the fourth on a single from Jammer Strickland and another in the seventh on a passed ball to pad their lead. The Generals avoided the shutout with a run in their half of the fourth as Michael Ince tripled and Sam Seaton singled him home.
Towne (5-2) was in control the whole way as he tossed nine strong innings allowing just the one run and scattering four hits along the way to pick up the win for the Cougars. Corbin Carter suffered the loss for the Saluqis.
The Saluqis took an early 4-0 lead in the first game on Sunday as Vince Hoyt doubled in a run in the third and Ryan Bell singled in a run in the fourth.
An error and a plunked batter came back to haunt the home team in the top of the fifth as Rogers belted a three-run dinger to slice the lead to one run, 4-3.
Zach Janes singled in the tying run in the sixth and the Cougars took their first lead of the game in the seventh as Wright Hackett singled and eventually moved around and scored on a grounder from Cole Baxley for a 5-4 Cougar lead.
The Saluqis put the winning run on base in the bottom of the seventh, but Kegan Frederick came on and put out the fire by recording the final two outs to secure the win.
Jake Wright picked up the win for the Cougars while Frederick got the save and Seth McClemore took the loss in relief of Justin Kemp for Southwest Tennessee.
The home team jumped on top to start game two with a single run in the first frame and another in the second. Seaton singled in a run while Josh Cedeno pushed a run across with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 Saluqi lead.
The Cougars got those two runs back and added two more in the top of the fourth with a four-run outburst. Rogers once again was right in the middle of the rally as he tripled in the first run of the frame. Chase Shaw then singled in a run and later scored on a single from Chris Caffrey. Caffrey later stayed in a rundown just long enough for another run to cross the plate as the visitors took a 4-2 lead.
That would be all the run support that Cougar starter Josh Morgan (5-3) would require as he tossed seven strong innings allowing only three hits and fanning seven along the way to pick up the win. Justin Skinner took the loss for the Saluqis.
The Cougars will travel to the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky on Wednesday for a pair of games.